Children conceived with the aid of fertility treatments had a higher risk of being born with some form of birth defects, according to a study recently published in Australia.
The study highlighted the rate of birth defects in children conceived with fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
The study stated that around 10 percent of women who choose to use ICSI to conceive encountered a newborn with some form of defect, such as bowel and urinary tract problems, heart and lung conditions and cerebral palsy.
Women who opted to proceed with IVF treatments were seen to have a slightly smaller risk of having a baby born with some form of defect, with a 7.2 percent defect rate.
"I think that for most couples that are at the point of going for IVF or ICSI as an option to get pregnant, when faced with this data most of them would still want to continue on that pathway," according to Emma Perry, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynecology spokeswoman.
The study spanned 16 years and covered more than 308,974 births between January 1986 and December 2002 in South Australia, then monitored the child's development for the next five years.
Of those births, the study showed that 6,163 were the result of assisted conception and that around 18,000 children were found to have some form of a birth defect.
Researchers also noted that the rate of birth defects among those couples who conceived spontaneously was considerably lower at 5.8 percent.
"Something that is not often talked about in the clinic, I suspect, is the risk of having an abnormal baby. And so this emphasizes this is something that must be talked about between patients and clinicians. They must discuss the risk for this when choosing the treatment," Michael Davies, lead researcher from the University of Adelaide, told AFP.